Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Four generations of the Baxter family lived in Portsmouth prior to the Great War and as so often was the case, it may have begun because of the navy.
Frank William's great grandfather George Baxter was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire in 1797. He married his wife Martha around 1830 and together they moved first to Chathamt where their eldest son Joseph Baxter (Frank's grandfather) was born in 1824, and then to Portsmouth. There was no obvious reason for them to move to Portsmouth as George's trade was as a shoemaker, but it's possible the move was motivated by a desire to remain close to Joseph who had joined the navy in the late 1840s. In 1851 the family were living on Castle Road, Hope Village and in that same year Joseph married Hannah Mead.
Joseph had attained the rank of Quartermaster by 1861 and was living with Hannah at 28 Ivy Street with their first few children, including Frank's father Charles Baxter who had been born in 1856. By the 1871 census the family had moved to 3 Raglan Street. Charles, by then a plumber by trade, married Sarah Ann Hardy in 1880 and moved into her parents house at 13 Railway View. They remained there for over 10 years but eventually their growing family meant they were probably encouraged to find somewhere of their own which they did as by 1901 they were living at 77 Byerley Road.
By 1911 Charles and Sarah had brought six children into the world, the youngest being Frank William. They were all then living at Seafield Terrace, Copnor Road, not far from St. Alban's Church. At the outbreak of the Great War Frank was 18 years old but did not volunteer for the army until at least April 1915 when he joined the 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. He died of wounds in September 1916 on the Somme.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Sergeant Frank William Baxter (19286), 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died 20/09/1916, aged 20. Buried in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L'Abbe (Grave Ref: IV.E.38.). Son of Sarah Ann and the late Charles Baxter, of 8, Seafield Terrace, Copnor Rd., Portsmouth.
Frank Baxter is commemorated on the St. Alban's Church WW1 memorial and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
March 2014